with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary US Treasury;
Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal; Professor of Political Economy Center
for Strategic and International Studies Georgetown University Washington, DC.
Question: Dr. Roberts, the United States is regarded as
the most successful state in the world today. What is responsible for American
Dr. Roberts: Propaganda. If truth be known, the US is a
failed state. More about that later. The US owes its image of success to:
(1) the vast lands and mineral resources that the US �liberated� with violence
from the native inhabitants, (2) Europe�s, especially Great Britain�s,
self-destruction in World War I and World War II, and (3) the economic
destruction of Russia and most of Asia by communism or socialism.
After World War II, the US took the reserve currency role
from Great Britain. This made the US dollar the world money and permitted the
US to pay its import bills in its own currency. World War II�s destruction of
the other industrialized countries left the US as the only country capable of
supplying products to world markets. This historical happenstance created among
Americans the impression that they were a favored people. Today the militarist
neoconservatives speak of the United States as �the indispensable nation.� In
other words, Americans are above all others, except, of course, Israelis.
To American eyes a vague �terrorist threat,� a creation of
their own government, is sufficient justification for naked aggression against
Muslim peoples and for an agenda of world hegemony.
This hubristic attitude explains why among most Americans
there is no remorse over the one million Iraqis killed and the four million
Iraqis displaced by a US invasion and occupation that were based entirely on
lies and deception. It explains why there is no remorse among most Americans for
the countless numbers of Afghans who have been cavalierly murdered by the US
military, or for the Pakistani civilians murdered by US drones and �soldiers�
sitting in front of video screens. It explains why there is no outrage among
Americans when the Israelis bomb Lebanese civilians and Gaza civilians. No one
in the world will believe that Israel�s latest act of barbarity, the murderous
attack on the international aid flotilla to Gaza, was not cleared with Israel�s
Question: You said that the US was a failed state. How
can that be? What do you mean?
Roberts: The war on terror, invented by the George W.
Bush/Dick Cheney regime, destroyed the US Constitution and the civil liberties
that the Constitution embodies. The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated. The
Obama regime has institutionalized the Bush/Cheney assault on American liberty.
Today, no American has any rights if he or she is accused of �terrorist�
activity. The Obama regime has expanded the vague definition of �terrorist activity�
to include �domestic extremist,� another undefined and vague category subject
to the government�s discretion. In short, a �terrorist� or a �domestic
extremist� is anyone who dissents from a policy or a practice that the US
government regards as necessary for its agenda of world hegemony.
Unlike some countries, the US is not an ethic group. It is a
collection of diverse peoples united under the Constitution. When the
Constitution was destroyed, the US ceased to exist. What exists today are power
centers that are unaccountable. Elections mean nothing, as both parties are
dependent on the same powerful interest groups for campaign funds. The most
powerful interest groups are the military/security complex, which includes the
Pentagon, the CIA, and the corporations that service them, the American-Israel
Public Affairs Committee, the oil industry that is destroying the Gulf of
Mexico, Wall Street (investment banks and hedge funds), the insurance
companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the agri-companies that produce
food of questionable content.
These corporate powers comprise an oligarchy that cannot be
dislodged by voting. Ever since �globalism� was enacted into law, the Democrats
have been dependent on the same corporate sources of income as the Republicans,
because globalism destroyed the labor unions. Consequently, there is no
difference between the Republicans and Democrats, or no meaningful difference.
The �war on terror� completed the constitutional/legal
failure of the US. The US has also failed economically. Under Wall Street
pressure for short-term profits, US corporations have moved offshore their
production for US consumer markets. The result has been to move US GDP and
millions of well-paid US jobs to countries, such as China and India, where
labor and professional expertise are cheap. This practice has been going on
since about 1990.
After 20 years of offshoring US production, which destroyed
American jobs and federal, state and local tax base, the US unemployment rate,
as measured by US government methodology in 1980, is over 20 percent. The
ladders of upward mobility have been dismantled. Millions of young Americans
with university degrees are employed as waitresses and bartenders. Foreign
enrollment comprises a larger and larger percentage of US universities as the
American population finds that a university degree has been negated by the
offshoring of the jobs that the graduates expected.
When US offshored production re-enters the US as imports,
the trade balance deteriorates. Foreigners use their surplus dollars to
purchase existing US assets.
Consequently, dividends, interest, capital gains, tolls from
toll roads, rents, and profits, now flow abroad to foreign owners, thus
increasing the pressure on the US dollar. The US has been able to survive the
mounting claims of foreigners against US GDP because the US dollar is the
reserve currency. However, the large US budget and trade deficits will put
pressures on the dollar that will become too extreme for the dollar to be able
to sustain this role. When the dollar fails, the US population will be
The US is heavily indebted, both the government and the
citizens. Over the last decade there has been no growth in family income. The
US economy was kept going through the expansion of consumer debt. Now consumers
are so heavily indebted that they cannot borrow more. This means that the main
driving force of the US economy, consumer demand, cannot increase. As consumer
demand comprises 70% of the economy, when consumer demand cannot increase,
there can be no economic recovery.
The US is a failed state also because there is no
accountability to the people by corporations or by government at any level,
whether state, local, or federal. British Petroleum is destroying the Gulf of
Mexico. The US government has done nothing. The Obama regime�s response to the
crisis is more irresponsible than the Bush regime�s response to Hurricane
Katrina. Wetlands and fisheries are being destroyed by unregulated capitalist
greed and by a government that treats the environment with contempt. The
tourist economy of Florida is being destroyed. The external costs of drilling
in deep waters exceeds the net worth of the oil industry. As a result of the
failure of the American state, the oil industry is destroying one of the
world�s most valuable ecological systems.
Question: What can be done?
Roberts: The American people are lost in la-la land. They
have no idea that their civil liberties have been forfeited. They are only
gradually learning that their economic future is compromised. They have little
idea of the world�s growing hatred of Americans for their destruction of other
peoples. In short, Americans are full of themselves. They have no idea of the
disasters that their ignorance and inhumanity have brought upon themselves and
upon the world.
Much of the world, looking at a country that appears both
stupid and inhumane, wonders at Americans� fine opinion of themselves. Is
America the virtuous �indispensable nation� of neoconservative propaganda, or
is America a plague upon the world? 2
� Copyright Paul Craig Roberts, Global Research, 2010
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